The article gives some basic information on How to Start an Ebay Business. eBay is an awesome way to run a full time business by selling unwanted items. The great thing about eBay is you do not have to spend a lot of time to make money. If you have a full time job you can leave listings up and pack your sales overnight then post them in your lunch break.
Assuming you know the full advantages of eBay I am going to tell you of my personal experience. I currently have over 15,000 feedbacks and a 100% record with now over 600 active listings and products. My eBay experience was the start of my need to create future projects, ventures and websites just for the fun of it but we will leave that for future blog posts.
eBay was my debut online project at only 16 using an older family member’s account due to the minimum age being 18. I had a few family members involved in Business and they could regularly get hold of stock that they dealt with every day in their business. In my first year on eBay I only had 6 products but had generated 200 positive feedback comments and some nice extra income at 16 while studying. My second year I found a few more suppliers and ranged into computer games, baby equipment and anything I could get my hands on.
I then got to around 50 product listings ranging across different fields. Items were selling really well and in my first semester at University I basically had to stop all listings so I could complete my degree or otherwise I would have definitely failed. Due to that, eBay got put on hold every semester and restarted in the Holidays but I was still generating some positive feedback. By the end of University I had generated 5000 positive feedbacks with a 100% record and it was very clear what I wanted to do after University.
After University I started a full time business, setup business banking and arranged for an accountant to deal with things. It was from this stage I really started to learn about business and the learning curve never seemed to stop. The more I learned the more I felt the first 5000 sales I had generated were a lucky break to say the least.
I was completely familiar with the eBay system and I was good with it but in terms of finding items that sold I had managed to stumble upon a nice category which had great potential. I scrapped the computer games, baby equipment and other off topic products I had been listing and I concentrated on the one category of products. I then gained 4 main supplier accounts and started listing all of their products. I now run a fully pledged business which has over 600 products and rising listed on our own personal website, amazon, play and eBay all from a project which started with 6 listings.
Over this time I have gained a good plan for success on eBay. When starting off getting those first 20 feedback scores are the hardest to get. eBay is an environment based on trust and reviews if you have no reviews or bad reviews do not expect to win the sale over a competitor because most of the time there will 10 identical listings for that item unless you create your own products. My advice is to get those first 20 feedback scores by selling small cheap items potentially some unwanted CD’s or games and starting them from 1p. These sales are not going to make you rich but they are building your reputation on eBay for future items.
Finding a supplier is the hardest part in the quest to turn eBay into a business and believe me you will find you waste a lot of time researching, signing up and listing products from suppliers. When sourcing a supplier you must have an idea of what type of products you want to sell. I advise to sell one niche of products to generate a brand and to be identified for selling that type of product. This does not have to be the case and quite a few major ebayers tend stray into 10 niches at a time, but from start up my advice is to build up a good relationship with a good supplier where you are buying most of their products and getting better prices and the opportunities to haggle.
Once you have found a supplier with a good product base the next piece of advice is to list everything they have readily in stock and available for a quick delivery. Ensure you take the shop option and work out which shop is ideal for your number of listings. Avoid the special order products at first as they will take too long to come in and get to your customer.
Take into consideration eBay and PayPal fees, postage and your profit margin which is normally around 20% when listing. You will find that some sellers kill the profit margin on certain items I advise you to put these listings on a 30 day listing so one sale will bring you into profit. You may find that some items need a smaller profit margin to compete so feel free to set the prices as you see fit for making money as long as you are in profit.
Keeping customers happy and getting glowing feedback is an art in itself. Customer service is the key to success on eBay as well as speed of dispatch, notifications of dispatch and good communication. How you handle problems are essential and sometimes overlooking the profit margin is needed to ensure you keep a customer happy.
The term the customer is always right is sometimes painful to accept but if you stick to this you won’t regret this even when at times customers drive you mad. Dealing with negative feedback or neutral feedback is also a key element in keeping your feedback high. I personally never give up rectifying problems and in most cases the buyer agrees to revise the feedback. Customers sometimes do not contact you when leaving bad feedback so when you take the time to email and offer a solution they are more than happy to accept. Once a resolution has been met just ask nicely if they would consider revising the feedback left.
eBay has quite a few automation tools such as automatic relisting, automatic feedback and automatic emails. Once you have set these up your eBay life does become a lot easier just ship and answer any questions. There are also some bulk tools outside of eBay which can drop your profit margin at a click of a button or increase them. I will later include a post with lots of eBay tools so you can readily use them to aid you eBay venture.